Donald Trump PAC urges ethics probe into Ron DeSantis ‘shadow’ presidential campaign

trump desantis
The letter from MAGA Inc. claims DeSantis is enriching himself as 'de facto' 2024 candidate.

A political action committee associated with Donald Trump is petitioning the Florida Commission on Ethics, accusing Ron DeSantis of mounting a shadow presidential run that violates Florida law.

The 15-page letter from Taylor Budowich of MAGA Inc., first reported by Daniel Baldwin of One America News Network, purports to provide “ample evidence that Gov. DeSantis and various political committees have engaged in conduct that violated Florida ethics law.”

“It is no secret that Gov. DeSantis aspires to national prominence,” Budowich writes, calling the Governor a “de facto candidate for President already.”

The letter contends DeSantis has flouted Florida’s “resign to run” law while “skirting federal campaign finance laws,” adding that could present an “impermissible conflict between his public duty and his private interests.”

It’s unclear whether any of these allegations would actually stick in front of the Commission, or whether it’s simply intended as more mud-slinging by the Trump campaign meant to sully DeSantis’ image ahead of an expected run.

The Budowich letter contends DeSantis has “abused his public position to obtain a disproportionate benefit for himself,” violating the Florida Constitution.

The letter also charges DeSantis with having “solicited and accepted a multitude of gifts premised on the understanding that he will run for President.” Named in the document are various committees presumably supportive of this aim, including Friends of Ron DeSantis, Ready for Ron, Ron to the Rescue, Courageous Conservatives PAC, the Republican State Leadership Committee, And to the Republic, and Run Ron Run!

Budowich notes that Friends of Ron DeSantis has raised $12 million this year, unusual given the Governor is term-limited and can’t run for state office again. Of course, that money can be converted into a super PAC to support an eventual DeSantis federal run.

Bulk buys of DeSantis’ book and promotions are framed in the letter as mechanisms to “personally enrich” the Governor while also making it “clear” that “he has decided to run for President.” The letter charges that contributions related to the book scheme mean he is “receiving gifts with the understanding that they will impact his official judgement.”

The letter also claims that DeSantis’ book tour, promoting the best-selling “The Courage to be Free,” is “conflicting with the exercise of his official duties” and will do so “for much of Florida’s legislative session.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Rob Desantos

    March 15, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Desantis is certainly unethical and probably as corrupt as the rest of the Republicans… but Taylor Budowich is completely incompetent at everything he attempts.

  • Ian

    March 15, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    Changing laws to serve your personal interests is pretty telling and not at all a conservative stance. War in Ukrainian is woke incidentally as is his entire false platform he’s running on. One trick pony and it’s obvious

  • Ian

    March 15, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    Valid inquiry! Just is!

  • Lex

    March 16, 2023 at 8:31 am

    This is total baloney. Trump announced too early, we don’t need to know the candidates yet. Why does this start earlier and earlier each election cycle. The funny thing is that Desantis was on schedule to be the President after Trump finished 8 years. So, isn’t it really Trump’s fault that he lost the last election?

    I’m glad any potential skeletons in closets would be disclosed before the Primary election, but you aren’t supposed to kill good candidates. Desantis has been an ally for Trump and they don’t have a lot of differences. Why can’t Trump just campaign on why he is a better candidate than Desantis rather than try to destroy Desantis. Trump doesn’t have much better allies than Desantis, so it seems unfair.

    • Tom

      March 16, 2023 at 8:54 am

      I suspect Trump declared to ward off future prosecutions because filing criminal charges against a declared presidential candidate / former president would be construed as political. Given that he’d be a lame duck day one if elected again, I’m not even sure why anyone is interested other than the entertainment value of watching him destroy what’s left of the republican party.
      That having been said, DeSantis should probably be careful because Trump is out there setting the narrative, especially on the social security and medicare front, which will be hard to shake off later.

  • gloriajame

    March 16, 2023 at 2:26 pm

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  • JD

    March 16, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    “Here, rarely caught on camera, when Republicans eat their young.”

  • Kenneth C Kovar

    March 16, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    Percent chance of this prevailing….0.00457 or so!

  • mike carr

    March 18, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    Previously I served on the Florida Commission on Ethics.
    This is bull!
    There is no factual basis for the complaint and it will not stand. The Commission on Ethics fights public corruption. It can issue fines but not put anyone in jail and it is not a mere tool to attack a candidate.
    Trump should be ashamed.
    Mike Carr
    Former judge

Comments are closed.


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